It’s not even been a full year since the launch of the Vivo X90 Pro, and we already have our hands full with two new Vivo flagships kick-starting this year’s smartphone frenzy. The Vivo X100 and the Vivo X100 Pro share most of the same tech DNA in and out, but the Pro packs a better primary and telephoto sensor than its non-Pro sibling, making a big difference between these two camera smartphones. The 4.3x on the Vivo X100 Pro is truly the best reason to throw your money at this smartphone. It’s versatile and unlocks a new level of smartphone photography previously alien to the X series Vivo smartphones.
Vivo X100 Pro review
I came, I saw, I captured
Similar to Xiaomi’s flagship, the Vivo also plonks a 50+50+50MP camera sensor in the rear module. The X100 Pro gets extremely close to the camera performance of the Xiaomi 13 Ultra which we got our hands on for a few days, although that never launched in India. Albeit, the Vivo X100 Pro brings delectable software and hardware chops that serve portrait bokeh which you will struggle to find in any smartphone. It’s all thanks to the Zeiss partnership which is not just software smarts but also hardware. The Zeiss T* coating is now capable of reducing internal lens reflection by 50% more than before, and it’s also an apochromatic lens which reduces colour fringing around contrasting colours.
Point the thing at a subject and you’ll immediately notice the natural sharpness and excellent light control in all your shots. The 50 MP OmniVision 64B sensor which sits behind the 4x optical telephoto lens is probably our favourite here. It unlocks a new level of street photography at 4.3x which is equivalent to a 100mm lens, and it gives the Vivo X100 a consistent softness in sharpness which looks natural and untainted by the algorithm. It’s also where you’ll notice a bit of a drop in consistency across different scenes, especially in the shutter speed and low-light scenes.
The streets of Hong Kong are busier than Open AI’s boardroom, and if you want to freeze the commotion of the city, you can do it with the Snapshot mode which increases the shutter speed for capturing fast-moving objects.
Among the many modes, you get a long exposure mode that comes with six presets depending on the scene, and we used the Mysterious Mist preset to capture the locals in the busy intersections of Hong Kong. The long exposure mode was thoroughly capable of capturing great shots in handheld mode. Astro mode, which is separate from long exposure mode, is something we haven’t tried yet but based on our X90 Pro long-term review, star trails with the Vivo is a bit of a hit-and-miss. The Pixel 7 Pro did a phenomenal job capturing stars compared to the Vivo X90 Pro.
Compared to an Apple iPhone 15 Pro and Pixel 8 Pro, the Vivo is a lot more versatile in terms of camera hardware, but the software is still lacking in some places compared to the American juggernauts. The Vivo still brightens up skin tones and removes facial blemishes which will appeal to the masses which wants a pretty picture, but camera nerds might consider Apple’s consistency and accuracy over Vivo’s flattery.
That said, if you know anything about post-processing and camera hardware, the Vivo X100 Pro, like its predecessor, is a phenomenal photography tool. You can always tweak the photograph to your liking in Lightroom. The Google Pixel’s oversharpening and Apple’s warm colour tones are difficult to work around in post, and the Vivo avoids these mistakes. Hence, it can rub shoulders with the best camera smartphones currently available.
Portrait mode is frankly the best we’ve seen on any smartphone, especially when you start playing with the Zeiss bokeh flares, the preset tone filters called Styles, and the five focal lengths. The freedom in hardware and software chops on the Vivo is truly a gift for any photography enthusiast. Between the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm and 100mm, our favourite is the 100mm which is pixel-perfect for street portraits, in my opinion. It’s also something I enjoy.
The bokeh fall-off bears semblance to system cameras. The blur intensity and flare effects are the most creative tools for photographers on the Vivo X100 Pro. The B-Speed flare is a new addition to the list of iconic Zeiss lenses which the phone can emulate. You cannot change these settings in post, so it’s better to plan your shots before you press the shutter. The creativity is limited to your willingness to play with the modes.
Low-light shots have seen the most improvement in the algorithm doodah. The blacks are not crushed and the noise is kept in check.
The video chops are slowly getting better over the years. It’s not the most stable or the most impressive compared to the Apple iPhones, but it’s decent. The front 32MP camera has improved a fair bit with tight exposure control and good details too. The colour tones on the front camera are a lot better than the previous Vivo X series smartphones.
What we do miss from the Vivo X90 Pro is the Zeiss colour calibration for the display. This 6.78-inch AMOLED FHD+ display has a 120Hz refresh rate. Top chops for a premium smartphone, but it is missing Vivo’s Zeiss integration with the display colours too like before and that’s primarily because this is an 8T LTPO panel. The Zeiss spokesperson says the process takes time and the new display technology was good enough for them to skip this process.
The display still curves around the edges but the iQOO 12 (Vivo’s sub-brand) we’re testing currently has flat edges which is more likeable in our opinion, especially when you’re editing photos in Lightroom or watching videos on YouTube.
The colour and brightness have both been tuned to work well for content consumption and daily doom scrolling. Although, this display has better deeper blacks and punchier contrast than before. It’s a good display!
The Vivo X100 Pro is a perfect example of MediaTek catching up to Snapdragon in terms of performance and power. The MediaTek Dimensity 9300 is a very powerful chip and daily tasks are smooth sailing at all times. However, there’s a caveat, this thing chews through battery life on a cellular network. We got a new update which might fix this a bit but the long-term battery life remains to be seen. Albeit, the 100W FlashCharge (bundled in the box) will juice it up faster than you can cook an omelette.
There’s also a V3 Chip which is exclusive to only the Pro model. This chip is sitting here for the new Cinematic Portrait videos and focus switching in post. It also enables 120Hz frame rate interpolation while gaming and reduces power consumption. For regular photography, we didn’t see any advantage in processing speed during HDR capture. The Vivo X100 Pro does better HDR for sure but it's also a bit slower than an Apple iPhone 15 to capture your shots. So most of the time, the subjects in your photos turn out blurry. You can enable the manual focus to lock exposure and shutter which brings the Vivo X100 Pro’s camera viewfinder even closer to a system camera.
Gaming and Geekbench scores are almost identical to the Snapdragon 8 Gen 3 on the iQOO 12, although the Snapdragon seems to be more power efficient. GTA Vice City runs as smoothly as the Snapdragon competition, although we did notice smoother movement on the Vivo because of the frame interpolation from the V3 Chip.
Battery and Design
The Vivo X100 Pro battery is a little bothersome. We got 5 hours of screen-on time with maximum resolution and frame rate, while constantly using the camera for street photography. In daily use, you might get an hour extra but considering the 5400mAh battery size, this big and heavy smartphone should have a longer battery life.
The smartphone is also top-heavy with a massive camera bump which houses all the delectable camera hardware. The vegan leather has been booted for a Fluorite AG Glass Back Panel which looks dull as per Vivo’s standards. In return, you now get an IP68 rating.
Thankfully, the Vivo X series is still not squared off the edges from the sides and the smartphone is very comfortable to hold (As it should be APPLE!). You also get Wi-Fi 7 and dual-SIM (nano), along with eSIM support.
The Vivo X100 Pro is a thoroughbred camera smartphone. Vivo still needs to iron out the FunTouch OS and its insistent need to display ads on the lock screen (unless disabled) and ask for permission to use the search bar. It’s a little silly that the OS refuses to improve when the camera chops are running circles around the competition.
For ₹89,999, the Vivo X100 Pro is easily the most versatile camera smartphone under a lakh. It has plenty of lenses, phenomenal portrait capabilities and plenty of modes that are usable and likeable. That said, it’s also a very capable smartphone for regular-day use with 16GB RAM and 512GB storage as standard.
The best camera smartphone for photographers under a lakh!
|6.78” 3D Curved AMOLED FHD+ 120Hz Refresh Rate 8T LTPO Panel
|Yes, Type-C, 100W FlashCharge, 50W Wireless
|In-Display Fingerprint Sensor
|MediaTek Dimensity 9300 + V3 Chip
|RAM and Storage:
|16GB + 512GB
|Main 50 MP IMX989, OIS, 1-Inch Sensor, Ultra-wide - 50 MP JN1 AF, Portrait – 50 MP OV64B, 4X Optical 100X Floating Telephoto, ZEISS T* coating